Our Walking Holidays in the Pyrenees
Welcome to Northern Spain’s glorious coastal mountains
Join free daily organised walks or self guide – or do a mix of both
- Harder High Level Hikes & Moderate Easier Walks
- Tried and tested gems – off the beaten track, rich in flora, fauna and magnificent scenery
Walking in the Pyrenees on a Collett’s holiday
Whatever it is that brings you to the Pyrenees, you are sure to thrive in the mountains that surround Panticosa, whether you self guide or join organised walks – whether you seek high level or moderate itineraries in the wonderful terrain of awe-inspiring Pyrenean peaks. Either way, the extensive knowledge of our own hosts and walkers is available each evening at Office Hour so that you can enjoy a succession of memorable walks in these beautiful mountains. Easy and gentle walking is limited here and we feel the Pyrenees is not as suitable as the Picos de Europa, the Austrian Alps or the Italian Dolomites for easy walks.
Walking in an ‘off the beaten track’ destination
We believe the wilder character of the Pyrenees gives you the opportunity to experience one of Europe’s last largely undeveloped mountain ranges – where the ski industry has a presence but does not dominate. The walking options are superb and hill walkers who enjoy a more untouched and undeveloped landscape are sure to feel at home here.
Routes vary from walks across grassy pastures and plateaus, to high trails, which wend their way through the peaks of the frontier ridge. Old trading, pilgrim and smuggling routes thread the mountain cols, whilst the wonderfully exposed ‘fajas’ of the Ordesa canyon are the ultimate in high level exhilaration.
People in search of moderate walking can venture out on a superb selection of delightful walks, which unravel in the enchanting foothills beneath towering peaks. You will discover woodland, rich with fauna; idyllic upland pastures, profuse and vibrant with flowers; and picturesque hamlets, where time seemingly stands still. It is a pleasure to wander into an enchanting, sleepy hamlet and sit at the table of a rustic café, gazing at the seemingly unbroken rim of peaks that surround the valleys and provide the high level walker with an extensive variety of mouthwatering adventures. That said, there are a handful of walks at high level – one or two accessible by cable car (season dependent) – that are not too challenging and these routes allow the less ambitious walkers to enjoy days out at higher level.
High Level Walking
If you are a high level walker, we look forward to helping you explore the exhilarating trails that will make for some unforgetable days out. Once any late lying snow has retreated, the more demanding of our two organised walks will regularly feature local classics, such as the awe-inspiring Ordesa and Monte Perdido UNESCO National Park, the Pic du Midi d’Ossau Circuit and the stunning peaks and trails above the Valle de Tena.
These cliffs are home to the uniquely dramatic rock cornices known as ‘fajas’, high altitude balconies of stone formed over millions of years. Along them cling sensational walking routes of varying exposures, providing walkers at every turn with adrenalin fuelled views of the canyon and its many magnificent fairytale waterfalls.
Walking in the Valle de Tena
Panticosa lies in the glacial Valle de Tena, which is surrounded by a ring of high mountains. To the south-west and south-east, the vast limestone walls of the impressive Sierra de la Partacua and the Sierra de Tendeñera rise abruptly, whilst looming large to the north-west and north-east are the mighty granite peaks of the frontier ridge.
Consequently, the Valle de Tena boasts an entertaining mix of landscapes: from the relatively flat pasture lands of the Col du Pourtalet with its gentle meandering streams; past the striking crimson rocks of the Vértice and Pico de Anayet, both the remains of old volcanic chimneys, standing guard over the idyllic Ibones de Anayet lakes below; on to the great mountain lakes of Brazatos, Azules, Bachimaña and Respomuso and the high granite peaks and rocky cols in and around Balaïtous and the Picos del Infierno.
Whilst predominantly the domain of the mountaineer, the Sierra de Tendeñera and Sierra de la Partacua, provide spectacular backdrops to our easier walks, which traverse their lower slopes and feature gentle cols, secondary peaks and beautiful lakes, such as the enchanting green blue lakes of Sabocos and Asnos high above Panticosa and the exquisite Lake Escarra, best viewed from the Collado del Pacino.
Just ten minutes away by car is Sallent de Gállego, which nestles quietly below the looming Peña Foratata, and Baños de Panticosa. Both these villages represent the start and end of a range of scenically splendid walks along scarcely trodden paths, which enticingly disappear deep into the rugged upper valleys of the range.
At least twice a week our Organised Walks focus on the many routes on Panticosa’s doorstep so that during your time here you can explore the natural wonder and hidden corners of the Valle de Tena.
Walking near the Pic du Midi
The Pic du Midi d’Ossau stands just on the French side of the range and is probably the most recognisable peak in the entire Pyrenean range. From miles around you can see the distinctive twin peaks of volcanic rock, which rise dramatically above a small collection of lakes and high meadows.
We believe the best view of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau is from the Lacs d’Ayous and the Refuge d’Ayous. These feature on one of our favourite Organised Walks and we are convinced that gazing up at the towering pic from this idyllic high level location will be one of the pleasures of your holiday.
The Pic du Midi is one of the classic landmarks of the Pyrenees and, with its numerous walking itineraries, it is a magnificent area to explore on foot. We do this from Panticosa on a short drive that takes you across the border at the Col du Pourtalet, where the Valle de Tena meets the Vallée d’Ossau.
Daily, Free & Optional – Unfailingly Breathtaking
Our Daily Programme – one walk harder than the other
Your stay will surely be enhanced by our own walkers. You can join them day to day on stunning walks – except Wednesdays, our local day-off. You simply choose the walk that takes your fancy – see below. All our walks take place in a relaxed and easy-going atmosphere. Armed with a packed lunch (available to all guests at €6 each), we generally set out at about 9am and, depending on the itinerary, return to the village in the mid or late afternoon, allowing you enough time to relax after the walk, maybe over a drink on the terrace or a stroll into the village. Here are the walks we offer on a daily basis:
A High Level or Harder Walk
Height Gain: 600m – 1000m, 5-7 hours
Venture into the massifs on high mountain trails amidst awe-inspiring scenery.
A Moderate Walk
Height Gain: 300m – 600m, 4–6 hours
Lakes & valleys, high mountain plateaus and some of the easier peaks and cols.
Please click here for notes concerning our weekly day off (Wednesday), seasonality, transport and joining our organised walks at your own risk.
Ideas & Information
Daily access to the extensive local knowledge of our own walkers
Some days – or every day even – you might prefer to walk independently. The intimate knowledge of our own walkers is available every evening at Office Hour, where you can browse maps with them and create a succession of wonderful self guided walks to suit your ambitions. You can also refer to our invaluable Ideas & Information Files, which feature many walks, from shorter strolls to challenging and dramatic high trails. For each walk we give the duration, ascent, degree of difficulty and the relevant section of map. You can also borrow on a daily basis an easy-to-carry Route Laminate for each itinerary. The files also contain numerous alternative options, scenic drives, places of interest, bike rides, ideas for rainy days (as if!) and other days out.
For people who prefer to be independent and do their own thing, we have plenty of local knowledge on many high and medium level walks, mountain bike routes, scenic drives, other mountain activities and local places of interest. All of this is available for you to browse through in our Ideas & Information files. Simply drop into Office Hour, which is held every evening (except Wednesdays, our day off) in the relaxed sociable surroundings of Hotel Sabocos, where the local knowledge of our Walk Organisers is always at hand.
All of the information provided in our Ideas & Information files is available for you to borrow, in the form of easy to carry Route Laminates. These include an accurate route description together with useful information such as average walking time, total ascent and distance as well as the relevant section of the map. Whilst these should not be treated as definitive guides, they can prove invaluable when used in conjunction with the local walking map we will send you shortly before you depart for the Pyrenees.
We fully understand if you would prefer to be left to your own devices and we can provide you with whatever information you need to create a succession of enjoyable days out. Obviously if you would prefer to join our Organised Walks then that’s absolutely fine with us too – we are happy for you to ‘mix and match’, doing your own thing one day and joining an Organised Walk the next. Our unique format enables you to do as much or as little as you like.
Plan your days over a relaxed, pre-dinner drink
Each evening (except Wednesday, our local day off), we hold Office Hour at Hotel Sabocos. This is far more relaxed than its name suggests and some people just drop in for a drink and to share the day’s experiences with friends, who may have been doing other things.
During Office Hour you can chat with our walk organisers, who have plenty of local knowledge, and arrange to join one of the Organised Walks they are proposing for the following day. Equally, if you prefer to walk independently, then you are free to browse through our Ideas & Information files and our Walk Organisers will provide you with as much help as they can when it comes to planning your next day out in the mountains.
“It’s Office Hour that really makes the holiday…“
Sarah & John Gilman, New Mills
Office Hour is nothing like as formal as its name suggests. Whilst it is a popular and effective feature of a Collett’s holiday, it is also entirely optional and many guests just drop in for a sociable drink with us and other guests. Either way, another memorable day in the mountains takes shape, leaving you to enjoy the evening with everything sorted.
For flora and fauna enthusiasts there are plenty of useful reference books and a regular slideshow of the local wildflowers. For those days when you fancy a change or a rest, we can also help you book other mountain activities such as horseriding, canyoning and high ropes courses and help you to organise a visit to on the many local places of interest dotted around the region. Whatever you need – whether it be a weather forecast or help planning a route – simply drop into Office Hour and have a chat.
Ultimately, whether you choose to join our programme of Organised Walks or walk independently, you are free to do as you please from one day to the next and the aim of Office Hour is simple – to help you get as much out of your holiday as possible and also to allow you to enjoy the evening with everything planned for the following day.
In pictures – Walking in the Pyrenees
We arrived just after office hour had started. We were met by a staff member, shown to our room, left our cases and immediately proceeded to join office hour. Well under way by then. Routes for next day explained etc. However we did not receive an actual briefing re the hotel amenities and Collett's initial intro. We did ask lots of subsequent questions and did eventually have all the info we needed. This is not a reflection on Collett's staff but more to do with our late arrival. Definitely looking forward to our first walk.
All in all accommodation and meals were first class. However the hotel website indicated there was a minibar. There was none in our room. The fridge element would have been an asset in the extreme heat. That and a room safe would have been helpful. Didn't ruin our holiday in any way though. When booking, albeit a bit late in the season we asked for a room with a balcony. Advised in advance that this may not be possible. Imagine our surprise to have a room with a terrace. Well done Hotel Sabocos and Collett's! Only problem was it was so hot we couldn't make full use of it. Some folk are never satisfied.
No pressure for anyone to go on the organised routes of the day. Alternatives readily suggested. We were looking for a walking holiday in the Pyrenees esp one that covered the Ordesa Valley and the surrounding area. My wife and I Were last in the area 36 years ago. The Ordesa valley did not disappoint!
All in all we had a very enjoyable week both walking and socially. I must congratulate Collett's' staff for the interaction they had with the guests. It must be hard to always be chatting to different people each week, not knowing how they would be accepted or what was expected of them over and above the walking side of things. Our thanks to Will, Remy, Claire and Kiwi Clare for a very enjoyable week and wish them all well wherever they decide to go in the future.